The sun is out, I’ve just swum in the reservoir and I have instructions to write my 400 words without moaning. If I carry on with my weekly liturgy of doom, my sister Rachel, who looks after marketing, is going to give this job to someone more cheerful. Back in April, with a drought threatening and the reservoir dropping, I was cursing myself for not fixing the leaks, but as I write this, the water is lapping at my feet.
On the hill above they are picking the late lettuces which have rallied well after some sunshine, as has the spinach. All the crops have done better on these higher, lighter and freer draining fields. If we knew what to expect we could adapt our husbandry, but these same fields are the ones that suffer worst in a drought. Farming has always been a risky business and it’s getting worse. We are already planning next year’s cropping; there is a feeling of caution and a desire to avoid the more risky crops. I suspect a few will reduce their acreage of veg but most of our growers are remaining positive, with some thinking about investing in tunnels and drainage for high value crops to reduce the risk.
Growing is an emotional business. As a young man I used to take it personally, as if the Big Man had it in for me. To evoke our wartime leader, the general sentiment is to KBO (keep b*ggering on). The black dog continues to appear now and then when I’m walking the worst of our crops, but they will soon be ploughed in to mix with better memories. Time for another swim.